After almost eight hours of tireless efforts, the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and accident relief team of the South Central Railway rescued loco pilot L Chandrasekhar, who was driving the Lingampally-Falaknuma MMTS train. He was trapped in the driver's cabin after the train collided with the oncoming Kurnool-Secunderabad Hundry Intercity Express, at Hyderabad’s Kacheguda station, on Monday.
Officials said that the loco pilot did not suffer any visible injuries but may have suffered a fracture in his left leg. He has been rushed to Care Hospital, Nampally, for treatment.
A total of 31 NDRF personnel carried out the rescue operation successfully. The operation began around 12.30 pm and concluded around 6.40 pm. The NDRF was alerted about the accident at 11.15 am and they reached in an hour.
NDRF Assistant Commandant J Senthil Kumar told TNM, “We used electric cutters to cut open the cabin. If we had used gas cutters, the cabin would have probably caught fire as there were fibre and other inflammable material inside.”
Senthil further explains their eight-hour-long rescue operation, which involved removing four layers of heavy metal to safely pull out the loco pilot.
“During the entire operation, Chandrasekhar cooperated very well. He used to tell if he felt any pain. This communication helped us precisely cut the metals and not harm him unintentionally. We gave him glucose water every 30 minutes, supplied oxygen and gave saline drip to keep him hydrated.”
On Monday, the Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) train heading to Falaknuma had a head-on collision with the Hundry Express around 10.30 am on the periphery of the Kacheguda railway station in Hyderabad. In the accident, 16 persons were injured and were rushed to Osmania General Hospital. Out of the 16 persons, nine have been discharged and the other seven are still availing treatment. The condition of one person is critical, South Central Railway officials said.
Due to the impact of the collision, five coaches of the MMTS and three coaches of the Intercity Express were damaged. Preliminary investigation revealed that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the MMTS loco pilot. The loco pilot proceeded with the journey, though he was not given the signal, the South Central Railway officials said.
Fortunately, the impact of the collision was minimal as both the trains were still in the vicinity of the railway station and hence were moving at a low speed.
Recalling the accident, Gopal Nishad, an eyewitness who is a ragpicker, said, “I was picking plastic bottles when I saw the Intercity train; but I did not notice the MMTS train approaching on the same track. Then suddenly, I heard a loud noise. When I looked around, I saw some people bleeding. Almost immediately, the police and other staff rushed to the spot and I ran away.”
Asad, a resident of Kukatpally, who was returning from Jadcherla in the Intercity Express, suffered minor injuries to his head. “The door hit my head strongly due to the collision. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do and ran away to a safe distance.”
Asad’s cousin, Ifran, a resident of Mahabubnagar, was also supposed to travel in the Intercity Express. He takes the same train every day to commute to work in Hyderabad. “Fortunately, I missed the train. But my cousins were on the train, and they told me about the accident while I was on another train,” Ifran said.
Meanwhile, South Central Railway authorities said that the Commission of Railway Safety, the body that investigates rail accidents, will conduct a high-level inquiry to establish facts and will give their report by Wednesday.
Due to the incident, 12 MMTS trains, 16 passenger trains and three Express trains were cancelled. Besides, seven trains were diverted and six Express trains were rescheduled. The rail tracks, too, were damaged, and the railway workers are realigning them on war-footing basis.